Battle of South Mills



Battle Summary

Official Reports


US Casualties

CS Casualties

Order of Battle

Battlefield Maps

Troop Movements



Virtual Tour





Updated 10 April 2010




Battle Summary









On 19 April 1862, Confederate troops repelled Union forces for 5 hours at Sawyer’s Lane, retreating to fortifications 2 miles north at Joy’s Creek only after being outflanked from the east. Both sides claimed victory: the North because they captured the field and the South because they prevented the destruction of the Dismal Swamp Canal locks 3 miles northwest.


The Confederate troops retreated north to the locks at Wallaceton during the night to prevent being outflanked from the east again. Union forces began retreating back to their transports at Chantilly around 10:00 p.m.  They were low on ammunition and suspected the Confederates were receiving reinforcements from Norfolk.


General Jesse Reno’s Union forces consisted of three regiments from Roanoke Island and two from New Bern. They were accompanied by a detachment from the 1st  Marine Artillery and underwater explosives expert Prof. Benjamin Maillefert.


Colonel Ambrose Wright’s Confederate forces were out manned 3 to 1 by the Union invaders. His forces consisted of 10 companies of the 3rd Georgia Infantry, the Giles Light Artillery, a detachment from the Southampton cavalry, and part of the 1st North Carolina Militia.